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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am really getting tired of the employee bs. Trying to find good people is almost impossible and the ones I have is trying to keep them happy. I currently run one mowing crew and one landscaping crew. I myself have been on the landscaping side of things pretty much all year so things run pretty smooth. A few of my guys run the grass side of things and stuff just doesn’t get done the way I want it to. A fair amount of complaints from customers during the spring rush. Lots of stress to say the least. I am really thinking about just getting rid of everyone and just going out and doing mowing myself and getting out of doing the mulching, installs etc. I know they are big money, but if I am going to stay with that work it’s going to require at least 2 other guys which I don’t want to deal with. There’s also all the payroll BS as well which gets expensive. Are there any guys on here that run a solo operation? Just trying to get some other thoughts before I make a decision. Thanks.
 

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Plenty of solo guys, including myself. I’m still new-ish though, but I’m in no rush to drop the coin on a truck and kit just to have guys tearing everything up when they’re not parked under a tree smoking blunts. Commenting more or less to follow.
You realize there is a big ol green "follow" button at the top of every thread right? I'm calling your bluff sir :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Plenty of solo guys, including myself. I’m still new-ish though, but I’m in no rush to drop the coin on a truck and kit just to have guys tearing everything up when they’re not parked under a tree smoking blunts. Commenting more or less to follow.
How many yards do you cut a week? I’m also concerned if it’s just me I might burn myself out once July rolls around.
 

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How many yards do you cut a week? I’m also concerned if it’s just me I might burn myself out once July rolls around.
Once summer hits here in Charleston SC and the rain gets going constantly I’ll switch some biweekly’s to weekly through the summer. Starting in July this year I’m just over 30 1/4-1/2 acre suburban accounts a week. I do this with a 32” and a 48” hydro walk, it’s a grind my friend. I’ve determined that my cap on summer accounts is 40 a week. This cap has more to do with the frequency of heavy rain though. I’m gaining accounts at about one new biweekly every week. Biweekly is the norm here with all the centipede grass.
 

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I’m solo, had e about 12 employees until about 8 years ago. Get licensed for herbicide/fertilizer apps. Better margins.

I’ve pushed most residentials away and do mainly commercial. Any residential we kept is done with a stand on or z. I’m selling the last of my push mowers!
 

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The question is how much do you need to live and operate the business?

I started the year running the mowing side of our business solo and it was no picnic but it got me thinking about what the minimum would be for me to have a decent salary and still and keep the business running.

I figured at 120k I could still live comfortably and be able to keep the business rolling without having to skimp on truck/equipment purchases to keep replacement schedules where they are currently.

Everyone's number will obviously be different but I think before you go cutting people loose think about of you can maintain your lifestyle without the money they're bringing in...... Headaches and all 🤷‍♂️
 

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I've run solo for a looooong time. Let me tell ya, it's way less stressful without all the employee issues. However, you have to be mindful of knowing your limits. You will have to manage your time better, and you will have to manage your physical well-being/health better, too. If you mow your clients every week, you can't book out Mon-Fri with customers and expect to get them done every week. Mishaps happen (i.e. weather, mechanical problems, illness, family emergencies). You would be safe by filling your schedule Mon-Thurs and leaving Fri-Sun as a cushion in case you need it.
I do grounds maintenance year-round, but also do hardscapes in the winter because the maintenance work load is light during this time. I noticed [email protected] does mainly commercial accounts. For me, high-end residential is where it's at. You need to find your niche, and specialize in it.
 

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I've run solo for a looooong time. Let me tell ya, it's way less stressful without all the employee issues. However, you have to be mindful of knowing your limits. You will have to manage your time better, and you will have to manage your physical well-being/health better, too. If you mow your clients every week, you can't book out Mon-Fri with customers and expect to get them done every week. Mishaps happen (i.e. weather, mechanical problems, illness, family emergencies). You would be safe by filling your schedule Mon-Thurs and leaving Fri-Sun as a cushion in case you need it.
I do grounds maintenance year-round, but also do hardscapes in the winter because the maintenance work load is light during this time. I noticed [email protected] does mainly commercial accounts. For me, high-end residential is where it's at. You need to find your niche, and specialize in it.
Good advice. How old are you? I feel like solo is tough as you get older but having the right equipment and like Chile said - managing your health and time - are crucial to making it work.
 

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I will say, you need to find a couple of 40 to 50 year olds that are looking for part-time work. Or seasonal work. Check with school districts especially bus and transportation departments.
They all have minimum class B licenses, can pass pee tests, and are scheduled oriented.
Last thing you really want is to be last man standing. With 2 workers even, if you are down, you should still make enough to cover expenses.
 

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A lot of good answers mentioned…I will add my 2 cents. Like [email protected] said, fert apps have much better profit margins PROVIDED you price them correctly. That is all I do and includes ornamental shrub care. Been solo since 2005 and no regrets. Just turned 65 in April, and believe me, you don’t really want to be doing heavy manual labor at that age. As the saying goes…work smarter, not harder.

Mowing can be pretty labor intensive and the grass still keeps-a-growing even when you are a few days behind due to weather. Apps are much more forgiving in that way. As others have said, find your niche and run with it.

One thing to keep in mind…injuries happen and can be debilitating if bad enough. Have a backup plan in place BEFORE you do this. I had a bad motorcycle accident in August 2015 and was out of commission for 3 months. Fortunately, I had a couple contractors who bailed me out until I was able to get back to work.

Good luck in whatever road you choose
 

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How many yards do you cut a week? I’m also concerned if it’s just me I might burn myself out once July rolls around.
I've been solo for the better part of 20 years, I occasionally hire someone but it always goes back to the BS you spoke of in short order and then I'm solo again for a good long time...
Tomorrow is a 10 yard day, I can do 50 a week easy.
It's not about burn out.
It's just numbers, I've already mapped out my route.
Start with the first one and move it along.
I am tired at the end of the day.
But I take it all one lawn, and one day at a time.
Just keep doing that.
 

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2 Major factor- Do you want money to work for you, or do you want to work for money ? Both comes with major pro's and con's This means- Do you want to be a business owner? Or run a business ... I really don't see how solo gigs call them selves a business... They are purely working for money instead of letting the money work for them... Yes they are doing okay for themselves, but if You do do it... it doesn't get done. I'm not against solo, it's just.... are you really a 'company' ? Ultimately it depends on what you feel the money you make is a comfortable lifestyle or not. Your stress is becuase you are doing it all... Either pull back to do it your self, or invest and turn over your job position to a different line of work ( Meaning you are not going out in the field)
 

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I prefer to be solo.
I'm also 54 years young.
That's got me taking a path.
That if I can not ride it.
I don't want the property.
I cut less than 30 properties a week.
For them weeks that you need to slow down. So. I have the time to complete the schedule for the week.
Them are also the hours.
I use to get my rates.
So I rarely work 40 hours a week.
I try to have all my mowing properties at full service. I do whatever needs done. When the time is right.
I actually just got the go on another one.
Font Screenshot Parallel Number Circle

Within my schedule I always have something that. I can do.
& just add it to the invoice.

Life is good.
 
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